Out To Impress - The Sunday Times HOME

Alfresco kitchens, creative landscape design and vertical herb gardens are just a few of the must-have features in today’s outdoor living areas.

Whatever your idea of outdoor living, it’s sure to be a far cry from the picture John Williamson painted when he sang about verandas, clotheslines and old rocking back in the 1970s. In many cases, the sprawling backyard has disappeared, replaced by carefully landscapes courtyards, squares of artificial lawn and alfresco areas that look every bit as if they’re a room in the house. Now, after a spell of overexcitement that led to outdoor bathrooms complete with tiled showers and stone bathtubs, we’ve pared things back to a more practical and more cost-effective level.

Broadway Homes sales and marketing manager Peter Gobetti says oversized windows and bifold doors that open up an entire wall are popular ways of merging the inside with the outside. “When opened, these literally extend a room out to the great outdoors, giving a vastly increased living space,” he says. Large floors, cedar-lined ceilings, a fireplace, built-in bench seating and strategically designed lighting all contribute to a relaxed outdoor mood. Low-maintenance features and water wise landscaping are essential to bring it all together, and Peter says we are seeing more areas dedicated to small-plot and self-sustaining organic vegetable gardens.